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Motorized automatic car wash

Discussion in 'Model S' started by oktane, Jan 31, 2017.

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  1. oktane

    oktane Active Member

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    Does anyone routinely wash their Tesla in a motorized automated car wash (with brushes, etc.)?

    I have always avoided those for "higher end" cars out of fear of damaging paint and causing swirl marks. But the Tesla Model S paint isn't that great anyway so I'm thinking of saving myself a lot of trouble and just going through the automatic washer from now on.

    My car is black so perhaps more at risk than other colors. What do you think?
     
  2. ev-now

    ev-now Member

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    A) Tesla paint is soft - due to CA regulations about hardeners - expect more damage than usual. Alternatively take your amazing car and get paint protection before doing what you propose.
    B) Tesla documentation suggests that AP sensors can be damaged in carwashes - YMMV.

    P100D? Opticoat, Feynlabs or Gtechniq!
     
  3. Patrick W

    Patrick W Active Member

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    The answers you get will depend on the respondents.

    I've seen some here that are meticulous about their vehicles and even a tiny rock chip is awful, will spend a fortune on wrapping the car and would never use a car wash with brushes.

    Then there are those the think "it's just a car" and don't worry brushes (assuming they was the thing at all).

    Me? I'm kind of in the middle. I had my first S a year and a half before trading in recently for an S with HW2. That first car went though a couple of brushless washers but they never seemed to work that well. So eventually I tried one with brushes. Worked fine and did not seem to hurt the paint. So it had many encounters with car washes with brushes. Oh, and I had a few rock chips too but the world did not end. :)
     
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  4. ev-now

    ev-now Member

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    Albeit it's being widely suggested in the media that the world might be ending, I don't think that was your rock chips!
     
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  5. sham01ski

    sham01ski New Member

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    I haven't taken delivery yet, but have already priced out wrap and nanolex coating. I'd recommend brushless or probably even a hand car wash is best. I used opticoat on my odyssey, and now get regular hand washes only. They are far superior to any machine wash (brush/brushless) available.
     
  6. sham01ski

    sham01ski New Member

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    btw. black will show swirl marks from brushes too
     
  7. Hugh Mannity

    Hugh Mannity Mediocre Member

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    I would use a brush wash depending on colour choice. If I had black I think I wouldn't as it'll show the swirls so easily. White, silver not so much.

    For the record I likely won't take my blue through a brush wash.
     
  8. ev-now

    ev-now Member

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    Agreed dark colors much more likely to show swirls.

    My Black Z71 Tahoe got most of it's swirls from the clowns at the hand-wash drying it. If the car is coated, then may be but my experience of multiple hand-wash places is that they over apply various finishing/detailing products to cover up for their inept use of cloths. Of course it might be you cannot get anything done in CO without dust getting into it.

    I hand washed our MS for the first two months, and just got a Feynlabs self-healing coat - specifically so I can take less care on the cleaning process - we'll see.
     
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  9. Patrick W

    Patrick W Active Member

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    Might be funnier if it wasn't so true.
     
  10. Blu Zap

    Blu Zap Grinning member

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    My MS is dark blue, so concerned about the swirling and other issues that can show up. But most importantly, I have it hand washed only. I have 21s with rim guards. The carwash track will knock them off the rim. So having it hand washed covers all my concerns. i use the same carwash the Service Center uses. So they know how to handle Teslas. Go hand wash.
     
  11. TD-3

    TD-3 Member

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    I'd be careful with larger rims. I took a MX with 22s through an automated wash and the tracks gouged the rims badly.
     
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  12. Mattzilla

    Mattzilla Member

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    I have better things to do with my time than hand wash the car all the time (it seems to get dirty faster than any other car I've ever owned and therefore it needs to be washed pretty often). I also have no interest in dropping thousands on wraps and or other "protections." I could very easily spend the money better elsewhere. And I'm probably in the minority, but aesthetics aren't that important to me. At all. My car is a workhorse. A beautiful workhorse, but still a workhorse.

    Anyway, I've taken my car through 10-12 different car washes so far in different parts of the country. I'd say about half of them had brushes and the other half were touch free. No issues, car still looks the same to me as it did when it was brand new.
     
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  13. Mayhemm

    Mayhemm Model S P85+ "Lola"

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    Brush car washes still exist?! It must be a decade or more since I've even seen one.
     
  14. JRMW

    JRMW Member

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    I'm another "car is a work horse" guy

    Given that Tesla is different than ICE... I didn't know if there's something special needed to do for those washers that pull your car through.

    1/2 block from me is a toucless car wash at a gas station that you pull into, park, it sprays you, then you drive out as it blows on your car.

    Works ok. It's $5-10 bucks. No scratches etc.
    So cheap that if it's not great I do it again more quickly

    But I'm a simple guy. I washed my Lexus 5-10 times in 8 years!
    Already washed my Tesla twice in 6 weeks
     
  15. JohnnyG

    JohnnyG Weee!

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    ^^^^ What he said!!! ^^^^
    Be careful to line yourself up perfectly before you pull into the rails, and you should be okay. DO NOT trust the guy waving you in (if there even is one). They expect the rail to bump/push you into alignment, which definitely can (and will) gouge your rim.
     
  16. MGMDaware

    MGMDaware Member

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    I have a silver S, so I guess I am less concerned, however, I regularly get her washed at the car wash (with automated brushes and tracks). I only have the 19" wheels, but never had an issue. I pay for the "unlimited washes" for flat fee and probably get the car washed 4-6 times/month. No paint issues so far. For what it's worth, I have a couple of small rock chips on my front end that drive me f-ing crazy. Sometimes it's all I can see. I absolutely want to correct it and get, at least, a front end coating.
     
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  17. FloridaGary

    FloridaGary Member

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    I guess I must be overdoing it. I washed my car 49 times in 52 weeks of ownership to include claybar and waxing twice. All by hand.
     
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  18. MGMDaware

    MGMDaware Member

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    Love is love. It's a crazy thing :)
     
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  19. tfung

    tfung Member

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    I put on a ceramic coating on my car which helps a lot with swirls and scratches... while I don't put my car through an automatic car wash, a lot of those places also offer hand wash as well for a little bit more... while nowhere as good as a detailer or a high end hand wash only place, I think the combination of the ceramic coating and a quick and dirty hand wash is fine.. so far the paint has been holding up well for me...
     
  20. shonline

    shonline Supporting Member

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    I use a laserwash for most of my exterior cleaning and do the interior myself. Every 3-4 months however, I go to a "normal" carwash with the strips and brushes, because laserwash eventually allows buildup on the windshield and other areas. My car is white and a lease - and while I am still very protective of it - it made no sense to get it wrapped etc... I'm more concerned about curb rash on the rims from the "normal" carwash than swirls and only go to a very new carwash near my house that has plastic protection on the tracks.
     
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